Australia has won the first two matches with three remaining to be played against England in the Ashes, and sports analysts and loyal fans are optimistic about Australia’s victory this year. It has been 77 years since any team in the series has come back from 2-0 to win, on that occasion the winner being Australia. England at present holds the Ashes, however, as they have won the three series played since 2009, and are determined to hold onto them.
The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia every other year where a small urn is presented to the winning side of the competition. Test cricket is the longest form of cricket played, in which two teams with eleven players each compete in a four-innings match which usually lasts for at most five days. It is thought to be the best way to show each team’s endurance and ability under pressure. The reason it is called Test cricket is because it tests the amount of strength each player has to push through the grueling amount of time.
The Ashes got its name when the first Test cricket in England between Australia and England was played in 1882 and Australia won. A British newspaper satirically said that England’s cricket had died and that “the body will be cremated and taken to Australia.” During the next Test cricket series, this time played in Australia, England’s captain Ivo Bligh publicly vowed to “regain those ashes.” Media thereafter dubbed the competition as “the quest to regain the Ashes,” which overtime was shortened to just “the Ashes.”
The odds that England might come back to win are looking unlikely. “Obviously 2-0 is not a great situation to be in. But if you look at a football game, the next goal can change it very quickly,” England’s captain Alastair Cook said in a press conference. There has only been one other time in Test cricket history in which England has had successive Tests lost by more than 200 runs, but the latest defeat in Brisbane had them losing by a 381-run loss, causing humiliation for the players and a desperate attempt to save their reputations.
Australia’s captain Michael Clarke, however, challenges this. “It’s not a fluke we have won the first two Test matches … we believe, after the work we have been putting in for a long period of time, we’re seeing some results.” Even though he sees victory in sight, he acknowledges that he shouldn’t get ahead of himself. “We have started this series very well, but there is a lot of work still to do.”